What is a Migraine
A migraine is a severe headache felt as throbbing pain at the front or side of the head. For some people it is accompanied by sensory warning signs such as flashing lights, spots or tingling in the limbs, for others it occurs without any warning.
It is a common condition affecting around one in five women and one in fifteen men. It usually begins during early adulthood. The pain can be excruciating and debilitating, and may last for hours or even days. Some people experience it more frequently than others.
Migraine headaches are thought to be caused due to abnormal brain activity, affecting the nerve signals and chemicals in the brain. Its symptoms can be treated through lifestyle changes and medicines.
The main symptom of a migraine is an intense headache that occurs at the front or side of the head. This pain is usually severe, and the throbbing gets worse when you move, preventing you from carrying out daily activities.
Associated symptoms include nausea and increased sensitivity to light and sound. Moreover, one may also experience sweating, poor concentration, feeling too hot or too cold, and diarrhoea. These symptoms can last between 4 hours to 3 days and are extremely tiring.
Some people experience subtle changes that act as warning signs before the onset of a migraine. This includes;
- Seeing flashing lights or blind spots
- Numbness or a tingling sensation, beginning in the hand and moving upwards
- Feeling dizzy or off balance
- Difficulty in speaking
- Loss of conciousness
- Food cravings
The exact cause for migraines is unknown, it has been associated with abnormal brain activity affecting nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain, causing imbalances.
The cause for these changes are unknown, however there are certain factors that trigger them.
Hormonal triggers: Fluctuation in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone around the time of periods for women.
Emotional triggers: Stress, anxiety, tension, shock, depression or excitement.
Physical triggers: Tiredness, lack of sleep, poor posture, jet lag, low blood sugar.
Dietary triggers: Irregular meals, dehydration, alcohol, caffeine.
Environmental triggers: Bright lights, flickering screens, smoking, loud noises, changes in climate.
Medicinal triggers: Sleeping tablets, Hormone Replacement Therapy, combined contraceptive pill.
If you are experiencing frequent or severe migraine symptoms, you should visit your GP for a complete diagnosis of your condition.
Your doctor will likely diagnose the condition based on your medical and family history, a review of your symptoms, along with a physical and neurological examination.
A variety of tests can be recommended to rule out other possible causes for the headache, especially if your condition seems unusual or suddenly becomes too severe.
To test for blood vessel complications, infections in the spine or brain.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan
It uses a series of x-rays to produce detailed cross-sectional images of your brain. These images help the doctor to diagnose conditions such as tumors, infections or brain damage.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
An MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of your brain and blood vessels. It can help doctors diagnose tumors, strokes, brain bleeds or other neurological conditions.
Migraines cannot be cured, however we at ‘The Online Surgery’ can provide treatment options to alleviate the pain and ease associated symptoms.
they can be taken to help reduce symptoms, and are most effective if taken at the first sign of an incoming attack.
These work by causing blood vessels to constrict, reversing dilation that is believed to lead to migraine headaches.
These include Sumatriptan, available as a tablet or spray and Naramig.